Biography of Clarence Brown (1890-1987)

Director of American cinema, born on May 10, 1890 in Clinton (Massachusetts) and died in Santa Monica (California), in 1987.


Clarence Brown was the quiet man of is voice that captivated the most powerful Hollywood Tycoon and the most privileged actresses of the era. His first steps made their way, however, to another industry, completely opposite but equally adventurous. Brown graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1910 as a technical engineer and began working in what looked like it was going to be his profession of life: the car industry and aeronautics. But in the five years following an event changed his life.

With the arrival of the "penny-arcade" (venues where there were kinetoscopios of Edison) a new world of possibilities opened the eyes of Brown and delved into it without hesitation. Leave to fly transport planes and sold his company, the Brown Motor Company to become Assistant and editor of Maurice Tourneur, that was the best thing that could happen to someone who started in the industry at that time. In 1920 headed already together some films, as the last of the Mohicans and The Foolish Matrons, and from there, and during the following five years, Brown was perfecting his technique and learning of Tourneur two fundamental things: the aesthetic sense and how to create a romantic structure.

But it was mostly because of two titles - the Black Eagle (1925), with Rudolph Valentino and Kiki (1926), with Norma Talmadge - by which Brown drew the attention of the Studio that would become his home for the rest of his career: the Metro Goldwyn Mayer. The Metro hired Brown in 1926 and soon had opportunity to see that it was not only a competent technician, but also a diplomat who had no price when dealing with the big stars. One of them, Greta Garbo, especially benefited from his kindness and his talent. His cinematic collaboration was going to be one of the most interesting of the Hollywood of the era. The devil and the flesh (1926) was the first film who played beside John Gilbert and so great was the success and the popularity of the actress reached - from then on was called "the divine" - which could renegotiate his contract with MGM. But it was also the beginning of his love affair with Gilbert and a fruitful professional collaboration. With Greta Garbo, Brown León Oro won the Mostra of Venice in 1935 by film Ana Karenina.

Louis B. Mayer appreciated from the beginning Brown loyalty and its ability to produce films. When Irving Thalberg died in 1936, Mayer asked Brown to be the architect of the films that he liked to see: that defending the home values. Thus occurred a series of successful titles carrying the joint brand of Mayer and Brown, and therefore the study. Edison, the man (1940), with a script that was nominated for the Oscar; The human comedy (1943), which was the favorite film of Mayer and Yes get the Oscar for best screenplay, as well as other nominations; National Velvet (1944) and the Awakening (1946), were perhaps the most emblematic titles of this film that both liked to Mayer and that he also provided numerous awards and nominations; in other words, prestige for the study.

After 1947 Brown only dealt with about five titles more, either as producer or director. It had carved out a reputation as a magician of the romantic genre and decided to make the Intruder in the Dust (1950), based on the novel by William Faulkner. With this film, Brown wanted to contribute to the social and political atmosphere they breathed then and rescue some guidelines that prevailed after the second World War: realism and reflection.

After his last film, the adventure of the Plymouth (1952), Brown lived many years more in a quiet retreat, away voluntarily from the Hollywood so much work had given him. Their participation was invaluable in the book that the historian Kevin Brownlow wrote about the silent era: The Parades Gone By... and the documentary series filmed this (Hollywood, 1980). Earlier that same year the daughter of John Gilbert interviewed him also, on this occasion to include his statements in the book he was writing about his father.

Most of the films he directed were based on novels or plays, even poems. Not only Anna Karenina has been taken to the cinema more often after their version. His other films would have, many years later, a remake.


As director:

1920: The last of the Mohicans; The Great Redeemer (co-directed.).1921: The Foolish Matrons (code).1922: The mysterious Cup (and coguion). 1923: after the Fortune; Culpabilidad.1924 verdict: Doghouse signals; The mimada.1925 girl: the love call; The woman of the geese; The Eagle negra.1926: Kiki; The devil and the carne.1928: ligera.1929 women: the path of the 98; The Cossacks (uncredited); The power of women; Heart of marino.1930: Romance; Anna Christie (and producer). 1931: inspiration; Free soul; Love for sale; Emma.1932: Letty Lynton; Oriente.1933 song: the future is ours; Flight nocturno.1934: so loves women; Encadenada.1935: Anna Karenina; Yesterday as hoy.1936: between wife and Secretary; The Gorgeous Hussy.1937: María Waleska.1938: Of Human Hearts.1939: Idiot's Delight; Came the lluvias.1940: Edison, the hombre.1941: I can not live without you (and producer); They Met in Bombay.1943: the human comedy (and producer). 1944: the white rocks of Dover; National Velvet.1946: The despertar.1947: immortal passion (and producer). 1949: Intruder in the Dust (and producer). 1950: Indianapolis (and producer). 1951: It's a Big Country (code); Angels in the outfield.1952: When in Rome (and producer); The adventure of the Plymouth. As a producer: 1949: The Secret Garden.1953: do not forsake me.

As Editor:

1915: The Cub; A Butterfly on the Wheel.1917: A Girl completo Folly.1918: The Blue Bird.


EAMES, j. D.: The MGM story. (London: Octopus, 1975).

FADIMAN, Regina K.: Faulkner completo Intruder in The Dust: Novel into Film. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1978).

FAULKNER, William: Intruder in the Dust. (New York: Random House, 1948).